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Matau, the Giant

Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown

Like most countries, New Zealand has myths to explain the formation of various lakes and mountains. This is the legend of how Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, New Zealand was formed.

Renowned beauty Manata lived in Otago in the South Island of New Zealand. She was popular with neighboring men and many of them wanted to take her as their wife. Manata’s father didn’t consider any of the suitors husband material.

One of her suitors was called Matakauri. He loved Manata and she loved him in return.

One day a giant called Matau stole Manata from her home and carried her away into the mountains. Manata’s father told Matakauri that if he could rescue his daughter, he’d approve of a marriage between them.

Matakauri knew that the giant always turned sleepy when the wind blew from the nor’west, and once conditions were right, he set out to rescue his love. When he arrived the giant was sound asleep.

“Come with me,” Matakauri said. “I’ll take you home.”

“The giant has tied me to him with a rope made from the skin of his two-headed dogs. It is impossible to break,” Manata cried.

Matakauri tried to cut it, but to no avail. Manata started weeping and when her tears fell on the rope it dissolved. Freed, the lovers fled to safety.

As promised, the couple married, but Matakauri worried about the giant returning and stealing his new wife. When the wind blew from the nor’west again, he sneaked up to the giant’s home and found the giant curled up and sleeping on a bed of bracken. Matakauri set fire to the bracken and the giant suffocated before he regained consciousness. The giant’s body sank deeper and deeper into the ground until he created an enormous chasm many kilometers long. His entire body was consumed by the flames, except the heart, which kept beating.

Rain began to fall and it flowed into the new chasm. The heat generated by the fiery giant bonfire melted the snow on the nearby mountains. Soon the chasm was full of water and it remains as a lake to this day—a lake shaped like a giant who has drawn up his knees in sleep.

Meanwhile the giant’s heart still beats beneath the surface of the water, sometimes so hard that the waves thunder against the shoreline.

I didn’t realize we had giant myths in New Zealand, and I’ve been enjoying reading through Taniwha, Giants, and Supernatural Creatures by Aw Reed and Ross Calman. Do you have any local giant myths?

Today I’m visiting Lissa Matthews where I’m discussing Maxwell’s, the fictional club in Past Regrets. There’s a giveaway too.

Step Back With the Pharaohs

Donkey Ride, Valley of the Kings, Egypt

When we visited Egypt a few years ago, one of the things I worried about most was the excursion to the Valley of the Kings via donkey. I’d never ridden a donkey before and my concern was that I’d fall off! The donkey ride from Luxor up into the hills and down into the Valley of the Kings turned out to be the highlight of my trip. It certainly beat the coaches that took most of the tourists to the site. My donkey was called Michael Jackson and that’s us in the middle of the photo. The other two girls were part of our group.

The donkeys ambled on the way there, but on the journey home they trotted, setting a brisk pace. We arrived home in time for lunch after exploring several of the tombs which once housed the royals. It was a fun excursion, and I loved it.

Today I’m visiting Mari Carr. I’m talking about the friends to lovers trope and there’s a giveaway. I hope to see you there!

It’s our wedding anniversary today. Thirty-one years of married life seem to have flown past in the blink of an eye. Happy anniversary, Mr. Munro!

Stepping Back in Time

Shelley, Bangui, CAR

I’m stepping back in time today with a photo of me taken in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic. Several local ladies visited our camp and offered to braid hair. I kept mine in for about three weeks. When I’d had enough of braids and unfastened them, I had the hair style from hell. The worst hair day ever!

Today I’m visiting Keira Kohl with Julia Maxwell, the heroine of Past Regrets. There’s also a giveaway.

Have you ever had your hair done in braids?

A Writer’s Life – The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line, the first book in my Love and Friendship series is out a blog tour this week, and Past Regrets, the second book in the series is due out on 10 September.

Today I’m visiting:

The-Bottom-Line-Banner-AUTHORS-FB

Sky Purington at A Writer’s Mind – interview

Fierce Romance Author Group – interview

Booker Like A Hooker – review

I bet you can’t guess what the least glamorous thing I do every day is…find the answer in the Fierce Romance interview!

All The Better To Eat You With!

I’m visiting Mychael Black today and talking about sharp teeth – all the better to eat you with!

Play Me – A Sports Romance by Diane Alberts

Play Me by Diane Alberts

Today I’d like to welcome author Diane Alberts with her new contemporary romance release Play Me. Welcome, Diane!

Thank you so much for having me here today to talk about Play Me!

Give us an elevator pitch for your book, Play Me.

It’s about a woman who’s scared to fall in love, and the childhood friend who refuses to give up on her, no matter what she throws at him.

Where did the inspiration for Play Me come from, and how much research did you need to do during the writing of your sports romance?

Ironically enough, the idea came from a Twitter conversation! I tweeted that I was spending Valentine’s Day on the bleachers of a middle school basketball game for my teen, and a friend said there had to be a romance book in that somewhere. Next thing I knew? I had Garrett and Kiersten in my head.

What do you think are the characteristics of a good hero in a romance?

He has to be strong, stubborn, and willing to admit he’s wrong. And, above all, once he meets the heroine, no other woman can exist in his eyes. It’s all about her, even if he’d previously been playboy of the worst sort.

Describe the sights, sounds and scents we might experience if we were to visit Garrett Kelly during a normal day.

He’d smell like cologne, and he’d more than likely have red pen on his hands from correcting papers. He’d be twitchy toward the end of the day, because it would be time to go play ball. And, above all, he’d shoot you the brightest, hottest smile you’d ever seen.

Play Me is a friends-to-lovers story. What is your favorite plot type to write and why?

I love when the hero falls in love with his best friend’s sister (which is also in the book). It will always be my favorite trope to read and write. I love waiting to see how the brother reacts, and what happens after the truth comes out.

Is there any part of the writing process that you find particularly challenging and why?

The beginning of a book is always the slowest for me. You have to lay the groundwork for why they are the way they are, and it takes a lot of time and concentration. It also says how they will react to everything you throw at them throughout the whole book.

Describe your writing area to us. Is there any one thing you must have before you start writing each day?

I have my desk set up in the dining room, and it has some of my books in the one corner. On the other, I have a small Thor action figure (My hubby got it for me, because I love Thor) and an Eiffel tower light. I put my coffee on a candle warmer, and then the words all flow.

What project(s) are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently working on a few more contemporary romance books for Entangled Publishing, and a New Adult book as well, written under Jen McLaughlin.

And now, here’s a question from Diane for you – So, tell me! What is your favorite quality in a hero?

CONTEST – Diane is giving away an e-book – Winner’s choice of a pdf of Try Me (Take a Chance #1) or Love Me (Take a Chance #2). To enter the draw answer Diane’s question above or ask her one of your own in the comments section.

clip_image002Play Me

Take a Chance Book 3
Diane Alberts

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC

Date of Publication: July 29, 2013

ISBN: 9781622661923

ASIN: B00DTDH8X2

Number of pages: 120

Cover design by L.J.Anderson

Amazon BN

Book Description:

Even the best-laid plans can go awry.

Single-mom Kiersten Worth knows a bottle of champagne and night of hot, no-strings-attached sex is the perfect solution to her jilted bride blues…and Garrett Kelly, long-time friend and her teenaged son’s sexy basketball coach, is just the stud for the job.

Garrett wants more from the elusive temptress than a casual affair, but he never expects it to come in the form of an unexpected pregnancy. When he proposes an unorthodox solution—move in and raise their baby together—Kiersten has to decide whether to let down her guard and open her heart to the man who secretly loved her for years, or risk losing his tender embrace for good.

Books in the Take a Chance Series:

Try Me: Take a Chance Book 1

Love Me: Take a Chance Book 2

Play Me: Take a Chance Book 3

clip_image004About the Author:

Diane Alberts has always been a dreamer with a vivid imagination, but it wasn’t until 2011 that she put her pen where her brain was, and became a published author.  Since receiving her first contract offer, she has yet to stop writing. Though she lives in the mountains, she really wishes she was surrounded by a hot, sunny beach with crystal clear water. She lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her four kids, a husband, a schnauzer mutt, a cat, and a Senegal parrot. In the rare moments when she’s not writing, she can usually be found hunched over one knitting project or another.

She is a multi-published, bestselling author with Entangled Publishing, Swoon Romance, and Decadent Publishing. She has, as of this date, four books with Entangled Publishing, one book with Swoon Romance, and five older books with Decadent Publishing. Her February release with Entangled Publishing, ON ONE CONDITION, hit #18 on the Barnes and Noble Bestseller List, and TRY ME hit #76 on Amazon. Her Swoon Romance novella, CAPTIVATED BY YOU, hit #31 on the Barnes and Noble bestseller list.  Her goal is to write so many fantastic books that even a non-romance book fan will know her name.

She also writes New Adult books under the name Jen McLaughlin. Diane is represented by Louise Fury from the L. Perkins Agency.

Website: www.dianealberts.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DianeAlberts

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DianeAlberts6

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5081315.Diane_Alberts

Lone Wolf and Yellowstone National Park

Fotolia_303874_L

I’m visiting Harlie’s books and talking about wolves, Yellowstone National Park and my gay romance Lone Wolf. Check out the review for Lone Wolf and enter the giveaway while you’re there.

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Sightseeing on the Web

Sunset Key Largo Florida

I’ve packed my virtual bag and gone for a holiday. Today I have three stops.

At Author Missy Jane’s blog, I’m talking about leopards, which are one of my favorite big cats. I might also mention my husband in this post.

I’m also visiting author Vicky Burkholder where I let you know about my writing companion who keeps me on the straight and narrow while I’m working on my books.

I’m visiting Nights of Passion, the group blog of several authors. Here I’m discussing artist trading cards and my book One Night of Misbehavior.

And finally take the opportunity to enter my Historical Giveaway on the post below. Oh, I almost forgot – there is a giveaway. Enter at each stop to win Amazon Gift Certificates.

Sleep, My Friend!

Sleep, Shanghai

Sleepy Worker, Shanghai

Today I’m really excited to visit my friend Mary at Dark Thoughts….Without sleep we become tall two-year-olds. Read more at Dark Thoughts

About once a month I blog over at Not Your Usual Suspects, which is a blog about romance, mystery and suspense. If you like a dead body in your fiction, you need to visit us.

So… we are going to celebrate by giving away lots and lots of downloads from the multi-published, multi-talented NYUS writers. To enter, just go to

Not Your Usual Suspects

and leave a comment at the announcement post or email our Fearless Leader at

CLARELONDON11 at YAHOO . CO . UK (you know how to make that work). Just one email, please…

On THURSDAY 25 JULY we’ll make the draw. Clare will contact each winner in turn by email, and then it’ll be. FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED for the winner’s choice of author’s work. So take a look at the announcement post and have your first few choices in mind!

I hope to see you during my visits!

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Interesting Ghostly Facts by Tracy Lane

The Sinful Sirens post is below, but please do check out Tracy’s post first and enter her contest!

I’d like to welcome Tracy Lane today, author of Paranormal Properties. She’s speaking of ghostly things and happenings, and of course, a little about her latest release. Don’t forget to leave a comment and enter her contest. Over to Tracy!

 

Paranormal Properties Button

I am Tracy Lane author of Paranormal Properties. The main character is Jake Weir, a 14 year old boy who realizes he can see and hear ghosts. Hauntings are most intense around children entering puberty, as kids this age are emitting immense amounts of energy. This is very true of Jake. He comes to terms with seeing ghosts even though he was a huge skeptic up until he met Frank Barrone, Dusks oldest ghost. I want to share some interesting facts about ghosts.

Most ghosts are happy, but some still cling to an emotional pain. Frank is a happy ghost, although he wants to find out who murdered him and where they buried his body.

They can make sounds that are audible. True, but Jake can hear Frank talk just like he did when he was alive. They have meaningful conversations.

Ghosts favor night due to the decrease in daytime energy use. Not true with Frank, he comes and goes all times day and night. He is not limited to night appearances.

Ghosts retain all the memories and emotions of their lives. True, Frank recounts several instances in his life with Jake.

Ghosts make friends with other ghosts from different eras. And they can also make enemies with same ghosts. You will see what I mean towards the end of the book.

If a spirit was a jerk while living, they will probably still be a jerk while a ghost. Frank has that holier than thou attitude and it comes out every once in a while. He is not a jerk though, just a bit on the pushy side.

Some alleged hauntings are actually a "residue," which is a past event that replays itself over and over. This actually happens in chapter four of my book but also has ghosts interacting with each other. This chapter was my favorite to write, I made the live world seem dead and the dead world very alive!

I hope I have taught you some things about ghosts you did not know, how they interact with our world and their own world. How some ghosts want nothing more but to be noticed by the living and acknowledged in our every day life. I also hope you enjoy my book.

Tracy Lane

Paranormal PropertiesParanormal Properties
Paranormal Properties Book One

Tracy Lane

Genre: YA Paranormal

Publisher: Pants on Fire Press

ISBN: 978-0982727171

ASIN: B00BMHF6X6

Number of pages: 192

Word Count: 33,000

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/NwIoLYHHznU

Amazon Print Kindle

Book Description:

Jake Weir, while on the set of his parents ghost hunting TV show, agrees to help a ghost investigate a 61 year-old murder.

Jake Weir is not like the other kids in Dusk, North Carolina. Then again, Dusk, North Carolina is not like other cities. Known as one of the most haunted cities in America, behind Salem, Massachusetts and New Orleans, Louisiana, Dusk is ground zero for Jake’s ghost hunting parents.

The Weir family has arrived in Dusk eager to scope out some of the town’s 127 reported "paranormal properties," which just happens to be the name of their own ghost hunting show: Paranormal Properties. What Jake doesn’t know, and what his parents could never imagine, is that Jake can see ghosts! And hear them. And talk back to them! This talent comes in handy when he runs into Dusk’s oldest, most famous ghost: one Frank Barrone, a one-time lounge singer made famous by his booze-soaked ballad, "Barroom Eyes."

Frank was gunned down by a local mobster in 1951 and has been searching for his killer ever since. When he learns that Jake can see and hear him, Frank makes young Jake a deal: if Jake will help Frank find his killer, Frank will help his parents find a ghost to film for their upcoming Halloween Special on Public Access Channel #319. Jake enlists the only friend he’s made in Dusk, an overweight tomboy nicknamed "Tank," to help him track down Frank’s killer. As clues emerge and old leads heat up, Frank and Jake learn they make quite a team. But will Jake find Frank’s killer? And will Frank find a real haunted house in time for Halloween?

“Paranormal Properties is a great, family-friendly Young Adult novel about a boy who can talk to ghosts. Equal parts Scooby-Doo, CSI and the Hardy Boys, you will enjoy getting to know Jake, Frank and Tank as much as I did. Now, if only ‘Paranormal Properties’ was a real show I could watch on TV every week…” ~ Rusty Fischer, author of Zombies Don’t Cry

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